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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

'There is nothing left in the tank': Alastair Cook to retire from international cricket after final India Test

England's record run-scorer released a statement on Monday saying he will retire from international cricket after the Oval Test

Alastair Cook, England's record run-scorer, has announced his international retirement following the conclusion of the fifth and final Test against India at the Oval starting September 7. AFP
Alastair Cook, England's record run-scorer, has announced his international retirement following the conclusion of the fifth and final Test against India at the Oval starting September 7. AFP

Alastair Cook, England's all-time record run-scorer, announced he will retire from international cricket following the conclusion of this week's fifth and final Test against India.

Cook, who has made 12,254 runs in a 160-Test career over the past 12 years, issued a statement on Monday lunchtime confirming the news.

The former captain, a four-time Ashes winner, added that at the age of 33 "there is nothing left in the tank" to continue to serve beyond this summer as Test opener.

Cook said: "After much thought and deliberation over the last few months I have decided to announce my retirement from international cricket at the end of this Test series against India.

"Although it is a sad day, I can do so with a big smile on my face - knowing I have given everything, and there is nothing left in the tank.

"I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined and feel very privileged to have played for such a long time alongside some of the greats of the English game."

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It may be a case of jumping before he was pushed for Cook, who has endured a lean summer at the top of the order for England - averaging just 15.57 in seven innings against India which have mustered only 109.

Cook, who has indicated he will play on next summer for his county Essex, sits sixth in the all-time list of leading Test run-scorers, just above West Indies great Brian Lara. Assuming he plays, Cook will need 146 at the Oval to move alongside Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara for fifth place.

"The thought of not sharing the dressing room, again, with some of my teammates was the hardest part of my decision - but I know the timing is right," Cook added.

"I have loved cricket my whole life from playing in the garden as a child and will never underestimate how special it is to pull on an England shirt.

"So I know it is the right time to give the next generation of young cricketers their turn to entertain us and feel the immense pride that comes with representing your country."

Cook voiced his gratitude - among many others - to Graham Gooch, his mentor whose previous high of 8,900 runs Cook passed three years ago, his family and England's travelling supporters in the "Barmy Army".

"There are too many people to thank individually, but a special mention must go to the 'Barmy Army' and all supporters for their constant encouragement for the team - and also a special mention to Graham Gooch," he said.

"As a seven year old, I queued for his autograph outside Essex County Cricket Club - and years later was so fortunate to have him mentoring me.

"Graham was my sounding board, especially in the early years of my career, spending hour after hour throwing balls at me with his dog stick.

"He made me realise you always need to keep improving, whatever you are trying to achieve."

Cook's wife Alice is about to have their third child - an event which may yet coincide with his final Test at the Oval, which starts September 7. He will be hoping to go out on a high in a series Joe Root's England wrapped up with a 60-run victory in Southampton on Sunday to establish an unassailable 3-1 lead.

England & Wales Cricket Board chairman Chairman Colin Graves said: “Alastair’s selfless dedication to the England cause and his desire to succeed are an object lesson to any professional cricketer. As our highest ever Test run-scorer and most capped player, he fully deserves to be remembered as one of England’s greatest ever cricketers.”

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